The Days of KIOA Jones (KIOWA)
See KIOA pictures below
Back in 1962 (June, I think) I was still at WINN (in the Speed Bldg.) in Louisville, waiting for Cousin Garvis and the Stick Buddies to take over, when I got a call from Joe Holcomb at WKLO where he was doing the morning show (I think he was the program director as well.) Joe said that he had been listening to me, and something I said broke him up. It had to do with a female impersonator in Sicily who was kicked out of the Sisters of Isabella for an appendage violation. I asked Holcomb how it was that he could listen to me since we worked at the same time. He said that he would listen while the news was on (what a compliment!) He also said he was leaving WKLO to be program director at KIOA in Des Moines, Iowa.
I knew Joe Holcomb off and on for several years. He was the kind of program director that I really liked to work for. He wanted all the DJ's on the station to sound better than he did! He would get all excited about a new job. In '62 he got me all excited about going to Des Moines, Iowa! Before I knew it I was talking to the GM at KIOA (his name was Peter Baldwin I think) about doing afternoon drive five days a week, 3 to 7 pm. "You'll love it," says Joe. "10 KW on 940 KC, a good signal that goes into half a dozen states, nice studios and a bunch of good guys to work with."
Baldwin and I came to an agreement on the phone. $150.00 per week, plus all the corn I could eat. I left WINN about a week or so later. In those days there were not a lot of radio schools, or work-for-nothing interns, so it was hard to get anyone to work at a station that was in the midst of being sold (I think I was replaced by the guy that put the Goobers in the candy machine. Come to think of it, he did look a little like Barney Groven.)
I remember going out to the airport to get my ticket. I was told that the second leg of my trip was on Branniff International Airlines. I asked the man at the counter why a South American carrier would want to fly to Des Moines. Well, he said, it's a French word, maybe they thought it was in Quebec! A few weeks later when I arrived at the airport in Iowa, I noticed that I was the only person getting off of the plane, but there was a long line of people waiting to get on! Later I asked Joe why that was, and he said he didn't know but it was the same when he arrived. (A few months later I figured it out.) Little Joe and the suits were waiting at the gate. After shaking hands all around, I asked where Mr. Baldwin was. Oh, said Holcomb, he doesn't work for us anymore. Well, says me, It's been nice meeting you. Just buy me a ticket and I'll get in that big line of people waiting for the next plane out. Ken Greenwood (who I think was the former owner and was not the acting GM) spoke right up and said, "Don't worry, Adam. You've still got a job." "I'm not worried if you're not," I said.
On the way to the station I was told that Peter Baldwin was going to Waterloo (I think) and his leaving had nothing to do with the fact that he hired me (Oh sure, I've heard that before – but it usually took a few weeks.) KIOA was in a nice building that I think was at the corner of 5th and Park. It had at one time been a bowling alley, before that a dance hall, and later it was a hole in the ground (more about that in a future episode.) It was a Saturday and we pulled up to the building. On the big corner marquee it said, "Adam Arrives Monday 3 to 7 pm." That night I saw my name up in lights! We all went into somebody's office to sign the contracts. I looked my copy over. On the first page it said, "$600 per month." "Hold it," I said. "$150 per week is $650 per month." Of course they acted all embarrassed and changed that line two pages later. There was a non-compete clause that they wanted me to sign for one dollar. Well I told them that I didn't want to sign that because if I got good ratings they would have no reason to negotiate in good faith because I'd have to leave town. They said everybody on the air had to sign it if they wanted to work there. I don't remember whether I told them I had to have $150 or $200 dollars to sign but they said they had to think about it, and I went out in the hall. While I was out there I walked out to see if somebody was taking my name off the marquee. I thought that there was no way I was going to get this job. But after a few minutes, Joe came out and said, "Done!" In a loud voice on the way out he introduced me to Chuck Hamilton. Chuck was a nice kid who at the time was working weekends (he was a big hit with teen girls because he looked like Ricky Nelson.) Later he would see his name up in college in the Quad-Cities.
In our next episode, Adam goes on the air and the Victoria Hotel implodes.
KIOA on fire February 26, 1963. Burns down studio
Adam emcees KIOA roadshow
KIOA Fabulous 40 Survey for week of November 16, 1962
KIOA Fabulous 40 Survey for week of May 5, 1963